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Old 01-21-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
Kmcogar
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Default How to get clear beer?

Ive brewed a couple of batches of beer and none come out quite as clear as I had hoped. I've even used Irish moss, but still not quite right. Any special methods that can guarantee a clear beer? What's your secret?
Instructions or steps please.

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Old 01-22-2012, 12:02 AM   #2
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If clarity is your goal, then Leave you beer a month in primary instead.

You'll find that more and more recipes these days do not advocate moving to a secondary at all, but mention primary for a month, which is starting to reflect the shift in brewing culture that has occurred in the last 4 years, MOSTLY because of many of us on here, skipping secondary, opting for longer primaries, and writing about it. Recipes in BYO have begun stating that in their magazine. I remember the "scandal" it caused i the letters to the editor's section a month later, it was just like how it was here when we began discussing it, except a lot more civil than it was here. But after the Byo/Basic brewing experiment, they started reflecting it in their recipes.

Fermenting the beer is just a part of what the yeast do. If you leave the beer alone, they will go back and clean up the byproducts of fermentation that often lead to off flavors. That's why many brewers skip secondary and leave our beers alone in primary for a month. It leaves plenty of time for the yeast to ferment, clean up after themselves and then fall out, leaving our beers crystal clear, with a tight yeast cake.


I get little if any sediment in my bottles, simply by opting for a long primary. This is my yeastcake for my Sri Lankin Stout that sat in primary for 5 weeks. Notice how tight the yeast cake is? None of that got racked over to my bottling bucket. And the beer is extremely clear.



That little bit of beer to the right is all of the 5 gallons that DIDN'T get vaccumed off the surface of the tight trub. Note how clear it is, there's little if any floaties in there.

When I put 5 gallons in my fermenter, I tend to get 5 gallons into bottles. The cake itself is like cement, it's about an inch thick and very, very dense, you can't just tilt your bucket and have it fall out. I had to use water pressure to get it to come out.



This is the last little bit of the same beer in the bottling bucket, this is the only sediment that made it though and that was done on purpose, when I rack I always make sure to rub the autosiphon across the bottom of the primary to make sure there's plenty of yeast in suspension to carb the beer, but my bottles are all crystal clear and have little sediment in them.

Half the time I forget to use moss, and you can't tell the difference in clarity.

I get the barest hint of sediment in my bottles....just enough for the yeast to have done the job of carbonating the beer.

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Old 01-22-2012, 12:03 AM   #3
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A slight haze to my beers has never really bothered me. To my beers very clear, I usually chill and let them sit for about a month. I've also seen an improvement using whirlfloc. Highly flocculant yeast also helps. However, what seems to be best for me is just letting things hangout in the fridge for a while.

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Old 01-22-2012, 12:03 AM   #4
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Use high, or very high, flocculating yeast, and give the brew long enough in primary. All the yeast I've been using is either of those ratings, and I go at least 3-4 weeks in primary before going to keg (or bottles when I did that). Racking from primary cleanly is also key. If you're using gravity, you'll want to move the fermenter into position far enough ahead, so that anything you disturb settles again. Also make sure you don't siphon from the bottom of the fermenter, where the yeast goes to rest.

Others will tell you to cold crash, use gelatin, or other post-fermentation fining agents. I've never done any of those and get consistently clear brews.

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Old 01-22-2012, 01:09 AM   #5
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Well thanks guys. I must say, I definitely have been rushing my primary then. I mean I do that usual....wait for the bubbles to stop....about a week or so and then rack it into the secondary. Then let it sit for another 2 weeks. I will defiantly let my next brew sit longer in the primary. Next on my list is a black ipa, which isn't exactly ideal for a clear beer, but next brew after that I will def let it sit for quite some time.

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Old 01-22-2012, 01:53 AM   #6
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The airlock is NOT a magical fermentation meter. If you don't take a hydrometer sample, confirming you're at FG (two readings 3-4 days apart) then it's still fermenting. Also, TASTE that sample. If it doesn't taste like it should (except flat) then leave it in primary. IME, racking ales is a waste of time, energy, and won't get you any better results than leaving it in primary for the same total amount of time.

Also, learn your yeast. Learn how the yeast works in your location. The temperatures there, as well as other environmental conditions, will impact how the yeast works.

I would also select your yeast to match what you want out of it, in the brew. While a lot of people use the same dry yeast for all their brews, with results they like, I prefer to select a yeast that adds something or enhances my brew. I still use the same small selection of yeast for pretty much all my beers, but I don't blindly use one as an 'universal yeast'...

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K1:
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On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:05 AM   #7
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Well, I'm trying a original recipe this time. Any suggestions on the yeast?

ALL GRAIN
10 lbs pale ale malt
1.5lbs amber crisp
.5 lb midnight wheat

Zythos hops 1 oz 60 minute
Zythos hops .5 oz 30 minute
Zythos hop .5 oz 10 minute
Cascade hop 1 oz 1 minute

My brew calculator doesn't have these ingredients so I cant tell you the exact OG and FG it is supposed to be.

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Old 01-22-2012, 02:13 AM   #8
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What are you looking to have it be?

Enter the ingredients into your software so you can figure out what you're going to get. Assuming it's amber malt (Crisp is a maltster I believe), and the 'midnight' wheat is really a dark wheat (what SRM is it?)... You'll need to get the IBU's from the hop additions. IMO, a 30 minute addition is pretty pointless. If you want flavor, go from 20 minutes to the end (forward), so move that one to 15 or 20 minutes.

I use Wyeast strains, so check out the ones here and see what appeals to you for characteristics and is happy at a temperature range you can do. Remember, that's wort temp, not ambient. Also look to see if a strain does different things at different parts of that temperature range.

I'm doing styles from the British Isles, so my 'common' strains are 1318, 1882-PC, 1335, 1725, and the 1768-PC... 1882-PC is available again this quarter, so I'll be getting several packets before it's gone again. I'm hopeful that it makes it into their regular lineup soon. I really like what it gave the brews I made with it.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
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Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:32 AM   #9
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It's supposed to be a black ipa. I couldn't get the exact ingredients, so I matched the lovi as close as possible and the citra hops in the recipe are the Zythos hops. They are about 10.5%. I changed it to 20 minutes instead of 30. I have brew pal on my iPhone so it's not the best brew calc. But it works.

Pre boil- 1.054. OG-1.066 FG- 1.017

Abv.6.5%

49IBU



Black Ipa

Batch size 5 gallons
Boil size 6.1 gallons
Boil time 60 minutes
Grain weight 12 pounds
Efficiency 75%
Original gravity 1.066
Final gravity 1.017
Alcohol (by volume) 6.5%
Bitterness (IBU) 49
Color (SRM) 27.5°L
Yeast
2 liquid packs
Wyeast
1214 Belgian Ale

Grains/Extracts/Sugars
12 pounds
Pale Ale
38ppg, 3°L 10 pounds
83.3%
Amber
32ppg, 30°L 1.5 pounds
12.5%
Carafa II
30ppg, 550°L 0.5 pounds
4.2%

Hops
3 ounces
Citra hops
11%, Pellet 2 ounces
Cascade hops
6%, Pellet 1 ounce

Mash
60 minutes, 8.2 gallons
Strike
Target 170°F 4.5 gallons
171°F
60 minutes (+0)
Sparge
Target 170°F 3.7 gallons
170°F

Boil
60 minutes, 6.1 gallons
Citra hops
11%, Pellet 1 ounce
60 minutes (+0)
Citra hops
11%, Pellet 0.5 ounces
20 minutes (+40)
Wort chiller 15 minutes (+45)
Citra hops
11%, Pellet 0.5 ounces
10 minutes (+50)
Cascade hops
6%, Pellet 1 ounce
1 minutes (+59)

Ferment
14 days @ 68-78°F

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Old 01-22-2012, 02:38 AM   #10
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safale US-05 or 04, wyeast 1056, nottingham...take your pick.

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